The former president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, has described the Taliban as his "brothers", saying he had held productive meetings with the country’s new rulers and discussed the issues confronting the country.
“I see the Taliban very much as brothers and I see all others Afghans as brothers,” he told the BBC in an exclusive interview.
Karzai said during his time in office, he would call the Taliban his brothers and “it was exactly with the same purpose in mind that I called them brothers”.
“This is our country, this country belongs to us so we are the sons of the soils so we should not leave. We should stay here and make it better. And I would ask all those Afghans who left [the country] to come back and build it.”
He stressed that there is a need for the political process to form an inclusive government in the war-torn country which should be acceptable to all Afghans.
“That this is your country... let's build it together; let's work together... I have had meetings with them [Taliban] the exchanges were very good on lots of issues,” he remarked.
The BBC's Yalda Hakim also questioned Karzai on when girls and women would be able to return to education and work. He said he had had conversations about this and that the Taliban have agreed they should go back.
“Get out and study and be brave.. we will make sure that you study and it will happen,” Karzai said in a message to young girls who are stuck at home and unable to attend school.
He also called upon the international community particularly the United States to help rebuild the war-torn country and “must work with the Taliban, they are government today”.
“Afghanistan was bombed in the name of fighting the Taliban. Our villages were bombed, families were destroyed and children were killed,” he added.
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